Teaching Series
Wisdom That Works
Thursday—A Storm Is Coming

Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: A Storm Is Coming
Preacher: Mark Johnson
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira

Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.

Read: Proverbs 1:20-33 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.

Reflect: “Then they will call to Me but I will not answer; they will look for Me but will not find Me” (Proverbs 1:28). 

One of my favorite skits on Saturday Night Live was when Steve Martin was hosting and Carole King was the music guest.

In the skit, Steve Martin and Carole King are sharing intimate moments of close friendship in her living room. They make promises to each other of friendship fidelity and loyalty. Before he leaves, Carole promises to be Steve’s friend forever and that if he ever needs anything from her, he can just call her name and she’ll respond with whatever he needs.

Steve leaves her living room and steps out the front door. Just after the door closes, he gets stabbed by a mugger and begins to bleed out on Carole’s front doorstep as she is at the piano writing and playing the song, “You’ve Got a Friend.” 

Each time she starts in on the chorus, “You just call out my name/And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, to see you again,” the now-bleeding Steve is on her porch yelling out her name, “Carole!” 

OK, maybe a little morbid, but when I saw today’s verse, that’s what I thought about. 

In a more real and sadder note, there’s nothing more pitiful than regret when a once valid offer isn’t available anymore. 

The door of the ark closes, Babylon marches into Jerusalem, Rome burns Jerusalem to the ground. None of these things had to happen. The antediluvian people were warned. Judah was warned. Jesus warned Israel to turn from their ways before it was too late. All that good advice was spurned. And then, regret. Cries for mercy fell on deaf ears. 

The warning here from the wisdom writer is that we should take advantage of wisdom today because tomorrow it may not be available to us.

Recalibrate: Have you ever warned anyone about a coming calamity and been ignored? If so, how frustrating was that?

Respond: Pray these words: “Jesus, keep my eyes open to heed warnings when they come. Help me to have an attitude of saving others from it too.” 

Research: Watch You’ve Got a Friend by Carole King (just because). 

Remember: “Whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm” (Proverbs 1:33, NIV).

Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.

Play a game of I Spy with your little one. What can you see in the world around you. Can you see birds in the trees? Can you see a busy road? Can you see a park to play in? Our world is a beautiful gift from God—however, this world does not love us like He does. As you hold the ones you love, know that Jesus will always hold us as we travel through life. Hold tight.

When I was in grade school, our class would take a trip at the end of the school year to an amusement park. There were so many rides, water slides, and fun things to do! Have you ever been to a park like this? What was your favorite thing about it? Why? My favorite thing about amusement parks is the rides! I love roller coasters! Not the kinds that make you dizzy, but the kinds that make you feel like your stomach jumped into your mouth. For the longest time I couldn’t ride the rides I wanted to because I wasn’t tall enough. It was such a bummer! I would always stand in line with my friends and walk up to the front on my tip-toes, but the person running the ride always turned me away. Sometimes we don’t like the advice or rules given to us. Sometimes they might even make us sad, but they’re there for a reason. Why do you think I wasn’t allowed on the ride? Because it wasn’t safe. I might have fallen out and that would have been awful! The Bible tells us that foolish people don’t care about wisdom or advice and that they get hurt because they don’t listen. Do you want to be a foolish person, or a wise person? What do wise people do differently than foolish people?

“Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all of my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices” (Proverbs 1:29-31). 

In America we have a saying that describes the last sentence of the verses above: “eating humble pie.” To understand this phrase, you have to first think of all of your mistakes as ingredients in a recipe for a pie. Every time you didn’t listen to your parents tell you to stop jumping on the bed is the flour. Every time they told you to go to sleep and you didn’t is the butter. Every time they warned you that climbing on the dresser was dangerous and you did it anyway is the sugar. Every time they yelled for you to quit making capes out of your clean sheets but you kept right on is the sour berry filling. If you combine all those ingredients into one recipe, you get a sour berry pie. And in the case of my younger brother one fateful night when he was nine years old, a broken arm.

They say you’re eating humble pie, because it was you who brought together all these ingredients and now you have no choice but to eat the pie you helped prepare. Without all those times you disobeyed there would not be enough ingredients to make the pie. But your stubbornness allowed you make it—and you are left with a pie all your own. It’s never a good pie and no one will help you eat it!  But here you are, with a broken arm, and a sour berry pie with your name on it. 

Have you ever had to eat humble pie? What were the things that contributed to your humble pie ingredient list? Where might you have been wise to stop making the pie and start making better choices? Would you know how to make changes if you faced this same situation in the future?

The older you get, the more ownership you have over the  decisions you make. Before I headed off for college there were certain things my parents no longer talked to me about. They realized I was entering into a new stage in life in which I would have to own up to both the positive and negative choices I would make—even though they had spent the past 19 years showing me how to live a good, responsible life. As I left for college, they were, in a sense, handing me over to my choices and my desires. There comes a point in our life time in which we have to own up to whatever decisions we make, whether good or bad. Proverbs 1:28 says, “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.” When we ignore wisdom and truth, it will eventually leave us. Parents won’t always be around to give us counsel, and we might not always have the same mentors in our lives. So take advantage of soaking up the wisdom all around you! Apply it into your lives because the more you ignore, the less you will grow.

Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Emily Ellis is a senior studying theology at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.

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